In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. During the war, there was no way to communicate with loved ones in Europe. The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan opposed the Allies. Japan sought to conquer a large Southeast Asian empire. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941, marked the start of the war in the Pacific. Japan began to invade the Dutch East Indies in January 1942 and landed on Java on March 1st. On 8 March, the Dutch forces in the colony capitulated, and the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies began. The Dutch soldiers, some of whom were Jewish, were sent to prisoner-of-war camps. Later, European civilians were also interned in camps – first the men, and then the women and children. Most of the mixed-descent ‘Indo-Europeans’ were not sent to the camps and had no means of subsistence. The Japanese wanted to separate Europeans from the Asian population and sever any ties between them.

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